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UMW – Ridderhof Martin Gallery – J.W. Fike’s Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of the North American Continent
January 15, 2015 - March 1, 2015
Within my system the plant is excavated, arranged in the studio, photographed, then illustrated digitally in such a way as to render the edible parts in color while the remaining parts, less emphatically, read as photograms. The plants in these images hover above an infinitely black space, referencing contact prints of botanical specimens from the dawn of photography. The 1:1 ratio of the photographs and high resolution color-coding speak to hyper-realistic modes of imaging and serve as archive and guide for an uncertain ecological future.
While this type of art may appear atavistic, its redeployment, in the precise moment of history, is viatlly relevant to issues of sustainability and consciousness. These edible plants grow all around us, in yards, alleys, ditches, and empty lots. Each testifies to our symbiotic evolution with all of life. and functions as both poetic metaphor and concrete proof of our intimate tether to the natural world. It is my hope that this art foments contemplative wonderment by offering viewers both information and insights that if realized kindle a reconnection to the natural world and a mystical counterbalance to scientific objectivism.
I envision this as a thoroughly inclusive catalogue that will result in hundreds of photographs. The aesthetic consciously combines empirical and visionary traditions, by taking advantage of digital imaging’s capacity to create rhetorical shifts in the photograph. The resulting images are elegant, layered, historically aware and able to evoke mystery, amplify interconnectedness and offer a critique of classical taxonomy.
“To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made of parts, each of which is a whole. You start with the part you are whole in.” – Gary Snyder